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Colorado Governor Passes Law to Protect Good Samaritans Who Help Dogs in Hot Cars

Paws Up!
May 19, 2017

To Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D) for passing House Bill 1179 that will protect individuals who help animals left unattended in hot vehicles.

Companion animals left unattended in hot cars can die. These sad accidents happen every year due to the lack of foresight by individuals who travel with their companion animals. In a matter of minutes, even a car parked in the shade with the windows cracked can become a death trap. A dog who gets too hot can suffer from heat stroke, which eventually leads to death.  Some of the warning signs of heat stroke include rapid panting, thick saliva, pale gums, and weakness. If you observe these signs, remove your companion animal from the heat, pour cool water (not ice cold) on them, put them in front of a fan, and contact your veterinarian or emergency hospital as soon as possible.

According to a recent news article, Representative Lori Saine (R) introduced House Bill 1179 to protect individuals that come to the aid of an animal left in hot car, even if the car and animal belong to a stranger. Under the bill, rescuers could not be sued for by the rescuers for damage to the vehicle incurred during the rescue. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law on April 13,2017.  This law will require the rescuing individuals to follow a set of procedures in order to be protected from legal liability. First, rescuers must assess the situation, try to find the owner, take action to remove the animal only if the animal is showing signs of distress, call the police, and stay until police arrive.  This law aims to reduce the number preventable of animals who die after being left in unattended vehicles.

To help children learn the dangers of leaving companion animals in hot cars, try this yummy dog treat activity with them, or order our free pets in hot cars poster.  

Take Action:  Colorado residents, contact Governor John Hickenlooper and thank him for passing HB 1179.

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